Health Information Management – A New and Growing Program

We’re excited that Health Information Management recently received a generous donation from an alumna who graduated from the Records Management Program at Mercy College of Detroit. The course of learning has changed dramatically in this technology-driven society, and students are learning processes for managing patient records that were unheard of only a few years ago. Electronic records can be managed among hospital systems, doctors’ offices and clinics and hospitals so that the patients’ care is consistent, safe, and secure. The real difference in today’s coursework is that the skilled records management specialist now is being prepared with the electronic capabilities for using medical care technology to maintain patient care updates, medication and treatment.
The Health Information Management Program at UDM’s College of Health Professions is newly developed, and enrollment is growing. If you are interested in learning more about Health Information Management, or if you would like to donate to the the program, contact the College of Health Professions or check out You can also learn more about Health Information Management by checking the web site serving the College of Health Professions.

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This Christmas – Give the Gift of Nursing Education with Scholarship Support

The University is preparing for Christmas Break, a time for students and faculty to take time from rigorous studies and relax with family and friends, rejoicing in the blessings of the past year and looking forward with hope to 2012.

December brings a wonderful anniversary for the School of Nursing. As the Sisters of Mercy created the foundation for what was to become the McAuley School of Nursing, the School faced the major goal of attaining North Central Accreditation. Such accreditation is critical to future of graduates as they seek employment and is of great value to a School or College as it hires top-notch faculty and asks for the confidence of donors to help sustain its programs. In December of 1950, Mercy College School of Nursing was visited by the Accreditation Team and subsequently received glowing reviews. A few months later, the North Central Association voted to officially accredit Mercy College, stating that “…It would be hard to envision a small college with a better set-up (college and hospital) than Mercy has for its nursing program.”

The tradition of precise, competent and efficient nursing education continues at McAuley School of Nursing, a highly respected School of what is now The University of Detroit Mercy.

This Christmas, we are indeed grateful for the blessings of nurses and health care professionals who don’t take a holiday break, but continue to offer compassionate care and service to the ill and infirm. Thank you for your service!

If you would like to contribute to the education of a nurse or health care professional this Christmas, you can do this on-line at Your gift will make a difference not only in a student’s life, but in the future wellness of the communities our nurses serve as graduates.

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Physician Assistant Students – New Opportunities for Education Funding

Students in the Physician Assistant Program now have a great opportunity for up to $10,000 in loan funding through the Charles E. Schell Scholarship/Loan program.

A grant to the College of Health Professions from Fifth Third Bank made possible the loan program that PA students can apply for very easily by contacting the PA program director, Amy Dereczyk. Deadline for this year’s application is December 23, and loans will be awarded in January 2012.

This program is a “moral obligation loan” which means that the loan is not legally binding, and the obligation to repay the funding is promised only by the borrower’s integrity. No interest is accorded in the loan, and the student is expected to repay the loan within 10 years of the time of borrowing. All repayments are returned by the University to Fifth Third Bank, who then gives the money back to the University to use to provide new loans to other students. In this way, a PA student not only can get help with his or her education, but can be an active, continuing participant in assisting other students with the resources for their education. The student recipient signs a promissory note in which he or she agrees to regular repayments of specified amounts. The note is not legally binding, and the loan is provided just as a scholarship may be provided, with no interest attached to the repayment.

Charles E. Schell was the donor who set up the loan program in 1932 with Fifth Third Bank, making it available to higher education students in all states served by Fifth Third Bank. The criteria he requested be followed is that:
(1) the student be a full-time undergraduate or graduate student between the ages of 19 and 25;
(2) the student be a resident of Michigan, Ohio, or ajacent states;
(3) the student be in good academic standing;
(4) the student demonstrate financial need;
(5) the student demonstrate loyalty to the United States and its military.

Some of the language of the criteria reflects the culture of 1932 when the scholarship was first set up. However, Mr. Schell’s commitment to higher education and to the needs of students is as evident today as it was 80 years ago. He believed that a student pursuing higher education would have a far greater opportunity for gainful employment, and once employed would also have developed the personal integrity of repaying the loan funding. He was not concerned that the money be returned to him, but be used by the institution to continue the opportunity for others, thereby encouraging students to “help one another along” financially in pursuing their dreams of higher education.

If you have questions or are interested in applying for this scholarship/loan program, contact the College of Health Professions or Amy Dereczyk today.

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A Joyous Anniversary for the Sisters of Mercy

Today, December 12, is the 180th Anniversary of Catherine McAuley’s founding of the Sisters of Mercy. The Sisters of Mercy actually grew out of Catherine McAuley’s innate compassion for others, instilled in her from childhood by her father.

It was her compassion that led her In 1803 to live in the home of William and Catherine Callaghan as a companion to Mrs. Callaghan. So great was Catherine’s devotion to others that the Callaghans grew to love her as a family member. On their passing, Catherine inherited their fortune: about £25,000.

With such a substantial inheritance, she could have mingled among the high society of Dublin. Instead, Catherine used her inheritance to lease property in a Dublin neighborhood to build a house for the spiritual, educational and social needs of women and children. Catherine’s goal for serving women was foremost in her ministry. She firmly believed that women were the nurturers, the givers and the builders of society, and therefore, the world depended upon women’s knowledge and leadership to maintain a strong society. She is quoted for her concern for the academic, social and spiritual development of women: “Let us fit the young women for earth without unfitting them for heaven.”

It was not her intention at first to form a religious order. Her commitment to service of the poor and the enthusiastic engagement of two other women in service led her to the prayerful decision that a religious community would provide a strong framework for continuing the mission. Under the guidance of the Presentation Sisters of Dublin, Catherine and her two associates founded the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy on December 12, 1831.

When she died in 1841 there were 150 Sisters of Mercy. Shortly thereafter, small groups of sisters left Ireland at the invitation of bishops to serve the poor in points worldwide. Today, as the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, the community serves the poor in North, Central and South America, Guam and the Philippines and the Caribbean.

Sister Mary Justine Sabourin writes in “Risk & Hope” that the original amalgamation of the Sisters of Mercy in the United States occurred in 1929, resulting in a union of 45 communities. Originally part of the province of Cincinnati, the Detroit Province was formed in 1940. Many activities were undertaken for the education of women in Michigan, but it was shortly after the formation of the Detroit Province that Mercy College developed.

The Sisters of Mercy continue to enrich the lives of students at the University of Detroit Mercy, serving in the College of Health Professions, McAuley School of Nursing, College of Engineering, School of Architecture and University Ministry. Sister Marie Henderson has created a bronze image of Catherine McAuley that captures at once Catherine’s determination, courage, dignity, spirituality, and peacefulness — all characteristics she modeled for women of the ages. you can read Sister Henderson’s story at

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Commitment and Care for Others – Remembering Martina Kuechle in Scholarships for Nurses

New generations of nursing students have the opportunity for a new scholarship that honors a woman who exemplified all that UDM nursing wants of its students – compassion, commitment to others, and a belief in giving time and talent to make a better world. Martina “Marty” Kuechle served the UDM community over a span that saw the McAuley School of Nursing grow and develop its essence at Mercy College and then move into spacious state-of-the-art facilities at Lansing Reilly Hall on the UDM Campus. Marty’s smile was known to people all over both Mercy and UDM campuses. Her first job, very early in her career, was in the in UD’s Office of Admissions and then she moved to the College of Business Administration. For a while she managed the University’s satellite campus in Clarkston. But it was in the College of Health Professions that her care for students, her commitment to her colleagues and her willingness to live the mission of the University became a model for everyone who came to know her.
Marty was Director of Academic Affairs in CHP for 18 years on both the Outer Drive and McNichols campuses until her untimely passing in 2008. Faculty and staff comment lovingly on her warm welcoming manner and enthusiastic smile and her willingness to lend a hand where needed.
A new scholarship program for nursing students has been established to honor the memory Martina Kuechle. The Martina Kuechle Nursing Scholarship will be awarded annually to nursing students who exemplify in the classroom the teamwork and collaboration that Marty demonstrated in life. To keep Marty’s memory alive at the College, her colleagues and her family wanted to continue her giving spirit and established a scholarship in her honor. Friends and colleagues continue to donate, and the scholarship is growing. The dream is to someday build the scholarship into an endowment so that student nurses will have a resource in perpetuity to assist them with their schooling.
To donate to the Martina Kuechle Scholarship Fund, please contact the College of Health Professions.

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Scholarship Support – A Meaningful Investment into the Future of Quality Health Care Professionals

Access to higher private education is an integral part of the University’s mission. Our Mercy and Jesuit founders firmly believed that higher education transforms lives and that college programs that expand knowledge and foster personal and spiritual development lead students to better careers and brighter futures. The University strives to ensure access for talented students, and makes every effort to assist students in moving past the economic barriers.

With scholarship support from donors and friends, corporations and foundations, the University can make it possible for students struggling with the costs of their education to move past the financial obstacles that might discourage them. Scholarship support allows the University to respond to the talent and abilities of a greater group of motivated young people and strengthens the University’s goal to prepare students for a diverse workplace.

Students who are preparing for a career in the health professions and in nursing are committed to the dream of one day attending to the health and wellbeing of our community. But the need for financial support for their education is evident. Recent data shows that 75% (922) undergraduate nursing students at UDM require some form of financial assistance to complete their education, and 50% (92 students) of our graduate nursing programs also require some financial aid. In the allied health professions, 93% (75 students) of undergraduate programs request and receive financial assistance; among graduates engaged in allied health professions learning, 85% (187 students) acquire financial assistance. Financial Assistance may come from scholarships, but more often come from student loans. It is a sad thought that many young graduates embarking on great new futures begin their independent lives with a boatload of loans to repay.

Scholarship support can make it possible for a talented student to achieve a degree and be free to pursue his or her life’s dream unencumbered with debt from education. Unfortunately, not that many scholarships are available to students in the health professions. Many of the larger nationally-recognized corporations funding health care provide scholarships for nursing to selected universities — typically in the regional areas of their operations. Locally, Detroit Area medical facilities have been very generous in contributing for scholarships and other needs in the College. We have also received wonderful assistance from local foundations and nationally, from the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, which we dearly appreciate. In the current economic climate, however, the need for scholarships is so great among our students, we cannot possibly respond solely with corporate and foundation support. We count upon our alumni and friends of the University who recognize that an aging population truly requires skilled, compassionate health care professionals.

If you would like to consider a donation to ensure scholarship support is available for students in the health care professions, please don’t hesitate to contact the College of Health Professions at the University of Detroit Mercy. Your gift will be a meaningful investment into the lives of students and ultimately into the health of the community.

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Physician Assistants – Preventing and Treating Human Illness and Injury

Campus Connections at UDM recently announced that Associate Professor Suzanne York was a key player in helping advance a fourteen-month advocacy initiative leading to the passage of the Michigan Patient Access to Care and Safety Initiative, signed into Michigan Law on November 8. Effectively, SB 384 broadens the scope of practice for Physician Assistants, increasing their contribution to the medical team. The passage of this law holds great impact for the health and wellbeing of Michigan communities in the face of dwindling health care professionals for our communities.

The College of Health Professions’ Physician Assistant Program has over the past 40 years graduated countless numbers of PA’s who are serving Metro Detroit Hospitals, health care facilities and clinics.

Physician Assistants are sometimes referred to as ‘PA’s” for the credential initials that they have earned. PA’s have become an integral component of the health care team for a patient.

Educated in a medical model that complements preparation of medical physicians rather than a nursing model which nurse practitioners follow, they work with the supervision of a collaborative medical doctor or surgeon. They are autonomous and hold the professional credentials to conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and medical tests and interpret them, assist in surgery, and write prescriptions.

At UDM, a student may enter the Physician Assistant Program on a two-year, three-year, or five-year plan. The two-year program is for eligible students who have attained the bachelor’s degree; the three-year program is for field professionals with the bachelor’s degree who are employed in the field. The five-year program makes it possible for undergraduate students to study and graduate with both a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master’s of Science degree.

The course of study is rigorous, and the tuition is steep — more than $13,000 per year. But the rewards in knowledge, skills, service and employability are excellent. However, little supportive funding in the form of scholarships or loans is available to students in the Physician Assistant Program, so often students must defer their education until they have the resources to continue an uninterrupted education.

If you would like to contribute to the Physician Assistant Program to strengthen a Physician Assistant student in pursuing an education, contact the College of Health Professions at the University. Your investment will be returned many times over in the health and wellness of the community, and in the assurance of health care professionals to attend to the needs of Michigan.

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Remembrances of Mercy

Sister Mary Justine Sabourin gathered a wonderful history of Mercy College and authored ‘Risk & Hope – An Early History of Mercy College of Detroit 1941-1966 (1999, University of Detroit Mercy Press.) She writes of the fortitude of vision and the careful steps of Mother Mary Carmelita Manning in combining resources of six Michigan hospitals to establish one of the first central schools of nursing in Michigan. Selected hospitals in Battle Creek, Jackson, Pontiac and Detroit and two hospitals in Ann Arbor with affiliated nursing schools linked in the goal to educate nurses to serve southeastern Michigan. Sister Justine writes that Mercy College of Nursing was incorporated by the State of Michigan as a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and was based in a multi-storied building on East Grand Boulevard in Detroit close to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital.

The story of the transition from Mercy School of Nursing to Mercy College of Detroit and the College’s bold move to the site on Outer Drive makes for exciting chapters in an unfolding story. But an essential point is that Mercy School of Nursing and its development into Mercy College and the McAuley School of Nursing has braided its beauty into the fabric of Detroit and made an indelible mark in the history of Detroit’s institutions of higher education. What immense pride graduates of Mercy and McAuley School of Nursing must experience having the knowledge of the valuable contribution of their alma mater in the community.

Now, as the College of Health Professions and the McAuley School of Nursing at University of Detroit Mercy, remembrances of Mercy College remain in faculty members that earned their degrees at Mercy College or taught at Mercy College — or both. They continue the remembrances of Mercy as they educate new generations of health care professionals for the future.

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At Thanksgiving and Always, We Give Thanks for New Visions in Health Care

Thanksgiving traditionally opens a great season of optimism and hope for the future. Health care reform is, for many, an optimistic sign of greater attention to the needs of the patient and what will be the best way of delivering health care so that the patient can return more rapidly to optimal health.

UDM’s Doctor of Nursing Practice and Nurse Practitioner programs are ways in which the College and the McAuley School of Nursing are growing and adapting to health care needs to be met by the community.

Nurses prepared with a bachelor’s degree, nurse practitioners and advanced practiced nurses will be of greatest assistance in the face of health reforms that make possible shorter hospital stays and returning the patient to the comfort of recuperating in one’s own home. Advanced Practice Nurses can go into the community and into peoples’ homes. They can examine, assess and evaluate, and even write prescriptions. With the support of these skilled professionals, people who are recuperating from an illness or injury can continue on the path to feeling good outside of a hospital setting.

The UDM-McAuley School of Nursing Doctor of Nursing Practice launched in September 2010, and this year another 10 students have entered the program. Students typically are Nurse Practitioners at a very high skill level and experience level who want to advance their learning and expand the service they provide to patients.

This Thanksgiving, we can all give thanks for such visionary professionals who are preparing ahead for rapid changes in health care delivery that will mean smaller hospital facilities, shorter hospital stays and more community-based care.

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The College of Health Professions – Dynamic, Diverse, Diligent

You might not see the minute-to-minute drama in the College of Health Professions that you see on medical series like Grey’s Anatomy, House, or the old classic, M.A.S.H. Thankfully, life doesn’t happen in 30-minute segments — particularly at Health Professions, where daily, dynamic curricula make it possible for more than 1,000 undergraduates to prepare for careers in Nursing, Health Services Administration, Health Services, or Health Information Management. The coursework is rigorous, but students are diligent in their goals to achieve the knowledge and skills to attend to the health and wellness of the diverse communities in which they live.

Students in the McAuley School of Nursing are already giving service as volunteers in the clinics all over the city where the uninsured and underinsured can receive primary care. The McAuley Health Center is one such clinic providing primary health care to underserved Detroit residents on the east side of the city. McAuley Center also has a site within Schulze Academy in Detroit, and special grant funding has made possible a diabetes screening program for grades 5-8 and an educational program for parents.

Another specialized program at McAuley Center provides preventative services to women, teaching them how to make healthy lifestyle choices. Students engaged in service at McAuley Center have a first-hand opportunity to truly live the mission of the University of Detroit Mercy, using their skills to promote a better life for others.

Health Information Management is a new and growing program at CHP, as well as being another growing field in the health professions. Exciting new technology, new methods of health care delivery and patient care and health monitoring has opened up wonderful opportunities for future professionals who will guide the maintenance and security of each patient’s health care record. Knowledge of Health Information Management is vital to the patient’s life as it holds the vast information necessary for physicians, nurses, and health care professionals to attend to patient care.

Among CHP’s many graduate programs, students are also choosing careers as Physician Assistants. The Physician Assistant Program at UDM began at Mercy College 40 years ago, and today the program is providing PAs for area hospitals, clinics, and medical facilities state-wide. Physician Assistants provide diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive healthcare services, as delegated by a physician. The PAs are planning their 40th anniversary with a continuing education day in April.

Family Nurse practioners are also looking forward to honoring its 15th year at UDM. Family Nurse Practioners are advanced nurses who have the ability to treat patients on their own just as a physician would. Nurse Practitioners have authority in all 50 states to prescribe necessary medications per a patient’s needs. This field is critical in rural areas where medical doctors are scarce as well as in the urban core where patients might have difficulty accessing medical care.

You probably will not see a TV series titled “The UDM College of Health Professions and the McAuley School of Nursing;” however, our students in CHP are seeing more real-life excitement than any TV program can offer — and there’s no commercial breaks!

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